Greetings again from [Iraqi location]. I am a daily reader and just wanted to share an experience I had yesterday at a weekly meeting given by the [military] staff to the [military officers].
I arrived in typical fashion, early to get a seat and grab a beverage prior to the rush. When I approached the small fridge to grab a soda, I was told by another staff officer “sorry, no drinks, it’s Ramadan”. Incredulously, I replied, what!!!?. Turns out, we had 2 visiting Iraq Generals briefing a future operation, and in an effort to be culturally sensitive, the order was put out there would be no drinking in the presence of the Iraqis.
Greatly displeased, I drove on and found my seat. This Major was on a mission, there would be no drinking as I watched her chastise numerous officers. She then came to a man of Middle Eastern appearance in civilian dress who took up a seat behind the yet to arrive Iraqi Generals. He pulled out a cranberry juice from his pocket, and was quickly told he would not be aloud to drink anything during the meeting. He was clearly agitated, but put the juice away. It apparently slipped by the dutiful Major that the man she was correcting was an Iraqi translator who was Muslim! He was the Iraqi Generals personal translator. — from this letter from a military man in Iraq
No hearts or minds will be won in such fashion. Only the sight of American Infidels calmly and unapologetically being Infidels, and not observing Ramadan — why should they? — will make any kind of useful impression. As for the Major, she clearly is only doing what she thinks she has been taught to do, what she must do. She’s apparently too obedient (if following to the letter some damn guideline), or if not obedient, then too uncomprehending of Muslim psychology and of the need for Infidels NOT to do what she is forcing them to do to be of much good in the future. May she not rise beyond her current rank — not unless she begins to understand that signs of accommodation are not always and everywhere repaid in kind, but taken rather as signs of weakness to be exploited.
As for the translator with his cranberry juice, who apparently has no intention of observing Ramadan to the letter — if at all — he must have been astonished at the Major’s idiotic behavior.
How can Iraqis, Iraqi generals or captains or privates, be expected to endure the sight of a female major giving orders to males who are junior to her? This offense is rank — or rather, her rank is the offense.
She should, for the good of the cause, resign her commission and leave the army for good, or at least all female officers in Iraq should be asked if they think it would be a good idea to avoid offending the sensibilities of Muslim officers and men by having those female American officers take orders, just when the Iraqis are around, from male officers and men who normally would be given orders by her?
Wouldn’t that just as important as stopping someone from opening a bottle of cranberry juice?
Larry Gelbart must be itching to get back to his typewriter right now. There will be MASH set in Iraq. And perhaps the female figure of fun, no longer Hot Lips, can be based on this plus-islamiste-que-les-islamiste major. So jot down your observations and save them for future use. The old song: There’ll come a time/when she’ll regret it/There’ll come a time/Don’t you forget it.” You can hum the rest.
In fact, I’ll be making a pitch for a series based on the folly of Iraq later this week. Yes, I see Johnny Depp as a devil-may-care Marine who refuses to obey any of the rules, Sasha Cohen as the local interpreter who gets everyone in hot water because he doesn’t really know English (and it may turn out that he doesn’t really know Arabic either). Ben Kingsley can play the one solid and trustworthy Iraqi figure, elderly now, who is constantly trying to signal the Americans that the real problem is Islam and until they understand that, they will achieve nothing for themselves. James Garofalo can be a hard-driving but there’s-not-mine-to-reason-why general, and playing the part of the female major — oh, I don’t know — any suggestions?
The tentative title I have been using for this pitchable series possibly won’t cut the mustard. Just imagine Jay Leno in his monologue, describing the NBC Thursday-night lineup:
“First there’s “My Name is Earl.” Then there’s “The Office.” And now there’s going to be ‘Der Untergang des Abendlandes.’ Hey, what’s up with that?”
[Camera vorkapitches to humorful face of Kevin Eubanks and then assorted members of the “Tonight Show Orchestra”]
Yes. The title needs work.